Three organizations have joined forces to install several internet hotspots in Graves County for the families who may not have internet access in their homes.
A press release issued by Graves County Schools said the district partnered with Graves County Fiscal Court and West Kentucky and Tennessee Telecommunications (WK&T) to create seven places throughout the county where residents will be able to access the internet free of charge.
The hotspots are located at Graves County High School (which also serves the middle school and Central Elementary) and six elementary schools (Fancy Farm, Farmington, Lowes, Sedalia, Symsonia and Wingo).
WK&T Operations Manager Stacey Riley said families who need internet access will be able to sit in their vehicles in the parking lot and connect to the internet wirelessly.
WK&T Chief Executive Officer Trevor Bonnstetter said his organization has been collaborating on the project with the Graves County Fiscal Court for more than a year now, “to try to figure out ways to provide more internet access to the citizens of Graves County because there are a lot of areas that have no access whatsoever.”
Bonnstetter said when the closures began taking place in response to the coronavirus pandemic, WK&T contacted the fiscal court members about speeding up the project to implement the first phase of the project.
“A lot of people are used to working from their offices, who’ve been sent home, and they need to be able to download spreadsheets or projects they’re doing for their work. Some people still have their jobs because of connectivity. Now, these hotspots are available throughout Graves County at schools,” Bonnstetter said. “We’re really appreciative to be part of the solution for kids who have no internet connectivity and citizens who have no connectivity otherwise.”
Graves County Commissioner Todd Hayden said the fiscal court is hoping in the next few months they’ll be able to provide internet service to all homes in the rural areas of the county which don’t currently have access.
Graves County Schools Superintendent Matthew Madding said, “We’re very appreciative of WK&T and their work to try to make sure all our students have access to the internet, especially during this time when we can’t go into our classrooms. The fact that they’re willing to put these hot spots up free of charge for anyone who needs to use them at all of our elementary schools is a great extension of their network, but also of our students’ connectivity.”